Mads Mikkelsen Source
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‘It’s important that we talk about taboos’

Source: RT
Date: June 02, 2012

Denmark’s most sought-after actor, the villain in James Bond film Casino Royale Mads Mikkelsen has picked up the top honors at the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival. RT caught up with the star to talk about taboos.

Mads’ latest role sees him portraying a man wrongly accused of pedophilia. The Hunt is directed by Lars Von Trier’s friend Thomas Vinterberg, the award-winning creator of The Celebration.

The drama revolves around Lucas, a humble kindergarten teacher who has a new girlfriend, a new job and is in the process of reestablishing his relationship with his teenage son following a tough divorce. However, his life turns into a nightmare after one of the kids at the nursery school where he works claims Lucas made indecent advances towards her.

RT: You’re an expert in playing manly macho men. In The Hunt you portray a humble kindergarten teacher. How challenging was that?
Mads Mikkelsen: I’ve actually touched that kind of energy before. It’s not the first time I do it. I approached it like always. I find something I recognize in me and I try to make it bigger and throw other sides of me away. And eventually there’s something left there that hopefully will become my character. But our approach was mostly intellectual and emotional in the sense that we went into the script and asked a lot of questions. Again and again we felt, this is working, this is wrong, and that was our preparation.

RT: Was getting the script from Lars von Trier’s friend like getting what you want for Christmas?
MM: Yeah, it was! For two reasons, of course, it was Thomas. I’ve known him for many many years. But we never worked together. And then opening the script and reading it was an extra Christmas gift, because it was very beautiful and very brutal. I think it was containing something than some people will call an issue of taboo and I think it’s so important that we put in up in the air and talk about taboos. So, it was a good gift.

RT: How did you approach the role of a man wrongly accused of pedophilia?
MM: Hm. It feels nice to play him, but to be him is a terrible thing, I can imagine. I’m trying to do it in my character, obviously. It’s basically the worst thing that you can be accused of, ever.

RT: And how did you research your role?
MM: The research was not so much in looking to cases, I didn’t care, that didn’t interest me. If there’s a case, fine. I mean, Thomas invented this case together with the writer, it’s not a real case. I don’t have to ask people how it feels to be in this situation. It’s obviously not something you want to be in. The research was on the script level in the sense that we went over it again and again, situations, details, etc.

RT: The director of The Hunt said you created the portrait of a modern Scandinavian man, helpful and humble. Do you agree?
MM: Yeah, he keeps saying that and I always get the questions! I’m not. Maybe he wanted it, but I’m not. I can obviously not play a typical Scandinavian man – there’s no such thing!

RT: Konstantin’s Stanislavsky’s famous student, Mikhail Chekhov warned actors against getting too close to their characters. He said, this job makes you mad!
MM: I totally disagree. With the fear of calling Chekhov pretentious, I would say, it’s pretentious. Acting makes you healthy, makes you go into other people’s lives and try to be someone else. Acting is fun, it’s very interesting work because of that. If it makes you mad, you’re in the wrong business.